PRDnationwide named harbour-front and waterfront suburbs such as Cabarita, Neutral Bay and Greenwich as the fastest growing suburbs for houses in 2008.

Cabarita topped the list of 2008 growth for Sydney suburban houses in 2008, increasing 39% on the year to reach a median of $1.52m. The suburb has gained more interest in recent years after the redevelopment of industrial sites there increased the value of waterfront properties, said PRDnationwide.

For units, properties along the ocean showed some of the best growth in 2008, including Curl Curl and Bronte, according to the report.

Looking ahead to 2009, houses all below $800,000 in the north in Belrose and North Ryde, inner west in Leichhardt and Rozelle, and west in Granville, Liverpool, and Fairfield were highlighted by PRDnationwide. The latter three, all priced with medians below $350,000, have all shown solid population growth in the past few years, and have solid infrastructure.

"Affordability will be a key driver, especially from downsizers who are looking to take advantage of lower priced properties in or near their existing suburbs, while at the same time reducing the size of their mortgage to increase their household cash flow," said the PRDnationwide report.

Due to Sydney's prices remaining mostly stagnant over the past seven years, some other analysts have already tagged it as the expected focal point for 2009 growth.

Units and houses in Summer Hill, as well as units in Stanmore and Macquarie Park, were also tipped as hot spots.

Along with affordability, the picks had improving infrastructure and public transport, as well as increasing demand.

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